Archived entries for christmas

Scotch Rosemary Biscuit Cookies

A Forkable original recipe developed for The Gift of Goodness Butter Blog!

For scotch lovers, here’s an awesome, unique recipe which pairs the piney aromatic flavor of rosemary with the smokey tones of a nice peaty scotch in a delicious butter biscuit cookie.  A rich Wisconsin Parmesan cheese helps set off the sweet flavor with a nice salty taste.  Plus, they’re SUPER easy to make.  Lets get cookin.

Scotch Rosemary Biscuit Cookies
makes 3 dozen

  • 1 c. butter
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs scotch (peaty and smokey)
  • 1 tsp rosemary chopped fine + 1 tsp chopped for garnish
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c. roughly grated Wisconsin Parmesan

Using a stand or hand mixer, cream butter together with honey and sugar.  Blend in egg, cream and scotch.  Once nicely blended, add 1 tsp chopped rosemary.  Set aside.

In another bowl, mix together dry ingredients.  Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients to make a slightly sticky batter.  Roll batter into a log and wrap with cellophane.  Chill for 30-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Slice dough in 1/4” slices.  On a plate, mix granulated sugar with chopped rosemary.  Press cookies into sugar and chopped rosemary and then sprinkle a small amount of grated Parmesan on top.

Lay out on baking sheet about an inch apart.  I suggest using parchment paper or a silicon mat on your baking tray to help reduce risk of burning.  Bake cookies for 15 – 18 minutes until bottoms are lightly golden and cheese is caramelized.  Set out to cool on wire rack.  Store in air tight container.

Since these cookies are made with scotch, a cute idea for holiday wrapping is to give them in rock glasses, new or vintage.  Like you’re serving scotch in cookie form!  Awesome, right?  I served mine up on a vintage platter, wrapped in cellophane to keep the freshness in and tied up with a pretty, rosemary colored bow.  As a small added bonus, I wrapped mine with a mini bottle of scotch to go along with the cookies.  These cookies are super easy to prepare and make a great holiday gift. Drink up!

Last Minute Christmas Present Round-up

Does Dec. 23 and 24th find you scrambling around trying to scrounge together last minute Christmas ideas for a shoestring budget?  My answer is usually yes.  Here’s a quick round-up of my favorite ideas of this season to help give you one last push to the finish line.
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Chocolate Peppermint Molten Cakes

All I can say is OMG, cake: mouth now!  Sprouted Kitchen’s Molten Cake recipe looks so f**king amazing, my keyboard isn’t working so well because of the drool puddle I just made.

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DIY Peppermint Schnapps

I love Outblush’s suggestion for making an easy peppermint schnapps as a gift.  Here’s their quick recipe.

Fill a glass jar about 1/3 the way full of the fresh peppermint and then fill the rest of the jar with un-flavored vodka.  Let it sit in a cool, dark place for a week to two weeks depending on how minty you like your schnapps. Once it’s done steeping, strain into a new glass container.

Granted, you will have to tell your giftee to strain the schnapps, but it will look quite pretty now.
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Beautiful Handmade 3-D Christmas Ornaments

I like my Christmas present ideas like I like my women: cheap and easy.  I mean…  Just kidding. Sheesh.  Tough crowd.   Anyway…  How About Orange’s easy 3D paper ornament gives great results for very little investment.

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Festive Button Wreath

I love Readymade’s Festive Button Wreath idea.  I know, I know.  Most of us don’t have a million buttons sitting around.  My Mom does, but most don’t.  I still like the idea.
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Homemade Hot Peppermint Fudge

Ok, this suggestion is typical but its always a crowd pleaser.  Who wouldn’t be happy with a jar of Rhonda’s Hot Peppermint Fudge Sauce.
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I hope these ideas are helpful to all my fellow procrastinators out there.  So come on all you Ho ho hos, get out there and finish your gift list.

Anise Puffs

Anise may not be everyone’s favorite flavor, but those who love it REALLY LOVE IT. I fall in the last group. This recipe for anise cookies is very easy if you have a stand mixer. One of the steps is mixing the batter for 30 minutes. No problem if you can press go and walk away. It is a little more annoying if you have to stand there, holding a hand blender for those 30 minutes. And if you don’t have a mixer, I would say, don’t even try it. However, if you do have a stand mixer, this recipe is a cinch! Oh, and did I mention, delicious.

Anise Puffs

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 tsp anise seeds
  • 1/2 tsp anise extract
  • lemon zest

Generously butter and flour baking trays

Beat eggs till froth

Add sugar and beat on medium speed for 30 minutes

After 30 minutes, add flour, anise, and zest.

Beat for 5 more minutes.

Drop batter using a tsp 1″ apart.

Stand at least 10 hours at room temp.

Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees until puffed. Don’t over cook this cookie, because it quickly dries out in the oven and becomes hard like a rock.

These cookies are puffy and delightful, like little anise flavored snow banks.

My Heirloom Christmas Cookie: Pfeffernuesse

Pfeffernuesse, (pronounced fe-fer-noose) is a delightfully cakey, spiced cookie.   This is one of the few recipes passed down from my Austrian Great-Grandmother.  The secret to these cookies is DON’T OVER COOK them.  If they are baked too long, they become a little too Bob Seger-ish.  Y’know… “like a rock!”  They are very easy to make and totally delicious.  Give it a try, just keep an eye on them in the oven.

Pfefferauesse

  • 3/4 c. molasses
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of pepper

In a saucepan, combine molasses and butter.  Stir until butter melts.  Remove from heat and cool to room temp.

Once cooled, stir in eggs.

Sift dry ingredients together.

Add to molasses mixture. Mix until a stiff dough forms.  Chill for 30-60 minutes.

Shape into 1″ balls.  Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. To see if they are done, check the bottom.  As soon as it starts to turn brownish, its done.  You want the cookies to be moist and soft on the inside.   Roll in confectioners sugar.

Santa’s Favorite: Minty Chocolate Pinwheels

The cold crisp flavor of mint is the perfect representation of Christmas through taste.  I remember loving these cookies as a small child for their fun colorful appearance as well as for the addictive moist chewy cookie coated in chocolate.  Although they look a bit complicated, they are not that hard to make and worth the effort!

Minty Choclate Pinwheels

  • 1 pkg. Mint-chocolate chips*
  • ¾ c. butter softened
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2¼ c. flour
  • ½ tsp. salt

*For the cookies seen above, I used green colored mint chips.  If you use chocolate flavored chips, the cookies will be white and black.

Melt ½ cup chips in double boiler. (Reserve the rest of the chips for the topping) Cool. Set aside.

In bowl, combine butter & sugar beat until creamy. Add egg and vanilla, beat well. Gradually add flour and salt.

Place 1 cup dough in bowl. Add melted chips, blend thoroughly.

Shape into ball; flatten and cover with plastic wrap. Shape remaining dough the same.

Chill both until firm ( about 1 ½ hours).

Roll each ball between waxed paper into 13” x 9” rectangle. Place chocolate dough on plain dough and roll up lengthwise-jelly roll style. (Chilling dough at this point makes cutting easier)

Cut into ¼ inch slices and bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes.

Melt remaining chips and spread on flat side of each cookie.

Leave these for Santa and a new PS3 under the tree is pretty much a gaurantee!  (How is that for a Christmas Poem?)

Tiny Black Bottomed Cupcakes

This was my FAVORITE christmas treat as a little kid.  Kids love mini things and these bite-sized cupcakes definitely fit that bill.  A delicious mix of chocolate cake and cream cheese filling, these little guys are finished off with a few chocolate chips just to top off the awesomeness.  This recipe is pretty quick and easy to make, although you are limited by the number of mini cupcake tins you have, but altogether WORTH IT!

Tiny Black Bottomed Cupcakes
makes about 5 dozen

  • Chocolate Batter
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. cocoa
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 c. oil
  • 1 Tbs Vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Cheesecake Filling
  • 1 package of cream cheese (8 oz.)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Topping
  • chocolate chips

Step One: Assemble Cheesecake Filling

Using a hand or stand mixer, blend ingredients for the cheesecake filling together.  Set aside.

Step Two: Assemble Chocolate Batter

Mix together dry ingredients.  Add next four liquid ingredients and mix well.

Step Three:  Assemble Cupcakes

Line mini cupcake tins with paper or foil liners.  Fill 1/3 full with chocolate batter.  Add 1/2 tsp cheesecake filling.  Top with 3-4 chocolate chips.

Step Four: Bake

Bake at 350 degrees for 17 minutes.

Easy!   Eat and Enjoy.

Quickest, Easiest Christmas Candy: Choco-Butter Nut Clusters

This is one of my favorite holiday treats to make because it is FAST!  This is a no hassle candy which makes a great thrifty gift for co-workes, clients, teachers, bus drivers, mailman, or pretty much anyone.  With only three easy steps, this candy goes from cupboard to candy box!

Easy Nut Clusters
makes 2 to 3 dozen

12 oz. semi sweet Chocolate chips
6 oz. butterscotch chips
1 lb nuts
optional: 1/4 bar of gulf wax**

Gulf wax is a candy grade paraffin wax found in the baking isle near the gelatin and jam making supplies.  It helps the chocolate harden so it won’t melt when handled.  It also makes it easier to mix the chocolate with the nuts.  A box comes with 4 bars of wax.

Step One: Melt Chocolate and Butterscotch

double boiler

Using a double boiler, melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together.  If you choose to use the Gulf wax, which I always do, you can add it in as well.  Cut the 1/4 bar of wax into as small of chunks as possible.  This helps it melt faster.  Stir occasionally to help the mixture melt faster.

Step Two: Mix the melted chocolate with the nuts

Place all your mixed nuts into a large bowl. You can use peanuts, cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds or whatever nuts you want.  I usually just purchase a container or two of mixed nuts.  Pour melted chocolate over the nuts and stir until all the nuts are completely covered.

Step 3: Spoon out clusters.

spooning clusters

Spoon clusters to your desired size onto baking sheets lined with wax paper.  I usually use a tablespoon or a large soup spoon to measure the size of my clusters.  Place baking sheets with clusters into refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill and harden.

As promised, that’s it and you’re done! Store clusters chilled in an airtight container for up to two to three weeks.  I usually double the batch to make a lot of these since they are so easy and quick to make.  The butterscotch chips help give extra flavor to the candy.  Considering the output, this choco-cluster gives you great bang for your time and buck!

Rosey Thumbprints

Thumbprints are a classic holiday cookie.  Everyone loves the delicious jam centers.   Although you can use any jam you want, I wanted to fancy these up a bit and by using something more exotic.  The left-over rosehip jam my mother and I made for my wedding party favors would work perfectly and lend a nice subtle sweetness for this classic cookie.

Rosey Thumbprints
makes about 4 dozen

  • 1 c. unsalted butter; softened
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs yolks
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c. rosehip jelly (or other jelly/jam of your choice)

Using a hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.  Gradually add flour and salt until well blended.

Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Only work with 1/4 of the dough at a time.  Leave the rest in the fridge.  Roll 1″ balls.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2″ apart.  Using your thumb or end of spoon.  Make a depression in the center of each ball.

Bake 10 min.  Remove cookies from oven.  Make the depression again.  Fill will 1/4 tsp jam and return to oven to bake for 5 min.  Cook on wire racks.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Eat up!

Easy Posh: Shrimp Bisque

I’ve had a few requests from friends for the recipe for the Shrimp Bisque I made for my family’s Christmas Eve dinner. Delicious and decadent, this soup can be made for not too much money or skill.

A great soup for a dinner party, you can impress your guests with little to no fuss. This website is all about trying to help our readers appear more fancy then they can afford so this one is for you. Just mention the “Champagne Reduction” you made for the soup base, and all your guests will think you’re the shit, ahem, I mean, a true epicurean.

Shrimp Bisque
serves 8 as a starter, 4 as a main dish
Continue reading…

Feast of the Seven Fishes

Although Christmas day is exciting, Christmas Eve is always my family’s favorite time. My Mom likes to make a multi-course meal which generally includes prime rib, Yorkshire pudding, and other delicious treats.


Feast of the Seven Fishes by Jason Santa Maria

Last year, my Mom decided to be adventurous for our Christmas Eve meal and suggested trying the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Southern Italian Christmas eve dinner meant to represent the 7 Catholic sacraments. My Mom thought it would be an exciting challenge for us to try something different and a little more complex. Here was our menu:

  1. Bagnacauda a Garlic and Anchovy spread, served with Baguette
  2. Fried Calamari
  3. Baccala Vesuvio a soup made with salted cod and tomatoes.
  4. Salmon Scallop Terrine
  5. Poached Halibut served with a Champagne Butter sauce w Lemon Barley Pilaf
  6. Lobster Salad
  7. Crab w/ Angel Hair Pasta

Our meal was delicious, although I have to admit, we did not do the best job of serving small enough portions to get through all the courses. We had to quit in the middle of the Lobster salad. If we ever do this again, we have to keep in mind the Gourmet portions!

Check out these sites for more info and sample menus:
StephenCooks.com
Mario Batali

I wish you all a wonderfully delicious Christmas!



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